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International Conference on Gender and Responding to Violent Extremism

November 24, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 4:45 pm


23 & 24 NOVEMBER 2021


Over the last few years, we have witnessed an unprecedented attention to gender in research and policies on preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) particularly following the adoption of the United Nations Secretary General Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and Security Council resolution 2242 on Women, Peace and Security in 2015. The interest in gender in P/CVE was largely caused by the expansion of the UN’s P/CVE agenda; the presumption of a surge in the number of women joining violent groups; the increased attention to the targeting of women and girls by terrorist violence; the integration of P/CVE within the women, peace, and security (WPS) framework; and the subsequent development and uptake of ‘feminism-as-counter-terrorism’ based on the idea that gender equality can be used as national security tactic to combat and prevent violent extremism (Huckerby 2020). Yet, of the difficulties of this increased attention to gender within P/CVE work is that there is agreed definition on what violent extremism is. The UN Special Rapporteur, Fionnuala Ni Aolain, expressed deep concern that ‘violent extremism’ as a concept remains opaque, deeply contested, and vague allowing for broad discretion in its application and the adoption of sweeping measures by States.


The conference aims to explore how attention to gender in P/CVE research and policies has impacted first on responses to violent extremism and second on the women’s rights agenda and local communities over the last few years.



23 November 2021
Panel 1: Women as Perpetrators of Violence,  9:00am-10:45am (UK time)

The following papers will be presented in this session:

Pathways to Radicalization and Recruitment for at-Risk Women and Female New Converts
Ms. Christine Kamau, Independent Consultant and Maia Blume, Knowledge & Learning Director, CREATE, Wasafiri Consulting

The Women of Al-Shabaab
Dr. Orly Maya Stern, Visiting Fellow of Practice, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University

The Complexity of Kenyan Women’s Mobilization into al-Shabaab
Ms. Hawa Noor Zitzmann, COFUND Ph.D. Fellow (EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie Program), Global Governance and Regional Integration, University of Bremen

Gendering PVE and CVE in post-revolutionary Tunisia
Guendalina Simoncini, PhD Candidate, Department of Political and Social Science, University of Pisa

Kindly RSVP here to attend panel 1

Panel 2: Countering Violent Extremism, Democracy, and Human Rights, 12:00-13:45 (UK time)

The following papers will be presented in this session:
Suffering in silence: the widows of anti-terror programs at the Kenya Coast
Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud, Associate Professor of Social/Cultural Anthropology, Technical University of Mombasa, Kenya

Violence: The Formation and Dissolution of the Racist Self
Dr. Mehr Latif, Post-doctoral Associate, University of Pittsburgh, Professor Kathleen Blee, Professor of Sociology and the Bailey Dean of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and the College of General Studies, University of Pittsburgh, Matthew DeMichele, Director, Center for Courts and Corrections Research (CCC) and Dr. Peter Simi, Associate Professor, Chapman University

Can CVE Be Salvaged? Lessons and Questions from Gendered Practice
Rosalie Fransen, Senior Program Officer (Gender and Extremisms), International Civil Society Action Network

Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism: A Focus on Gender Inequality and Misogynistic Violence
Edith Okupa, Founder/Executive Director of Restoration Project International

Kindly RSVP here to attend panel 2

Roundtable on Gender, CVE and Afghanistan, 3:00pm-4:45pm (UK time)

Below are the speakers for this session:

Belquis Ahmadi, Senior Program Officer, United States Institute of Peace

Dr. Holly A Ritchie, Founder, THRIVE (Kenya) and Consultant/Research Fellow, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University

Dr. Saeed Parto, Co-founder and Director of Research, Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization (APPRO)

Dr. Iffat Idris, International Development Department Research Fellow, GSDRC, University of Birmingham
Kindly RSVP here to attend the roundtable

24 November 2021
Panel 1: Gender in P/CVE Policies,  9:00am-10:45am (UK time)

The following papers will be presented in this session:

The Inconsequentiality of Mother’s Knowledge and Experiences in Violent Extremism Discourse
Beatrice Kizi Nzovu, Team Leader, Africa Country Programmes,  Life & Peace Institute

Absorbing Difference: Global North/South Disparities in P/CVE Policy and Practice
Dr. Elizabeth Mesok, SNF PRIMA Fellow, Center for Gender Studies, University of Basel, Darja Schildknecht, PhD Candidate in Political Science at the Graduate School for Social Sciences, University of Basel and Nora Naji, PhD Candidate in Political Science at the Graduate School for Social Sciences, University of Basel

Women, Peace, and Security agenda: an assessment of Nigeria’s national action plan on UNSCR 1325
Akinkunmi Afeez Akinlabi, PhD Candidate, Obafemi Awolowo University.

Kindly RSVP here to attend panel 1

Panel 2: Masculinities and Violent Extremism, 12:00pm-1:45pm (UK time)

Below are the topics that will be covered in this session:

Key messages, insights and questions on masculinities and violent extremism from a brief literature review
Dr. Okumbo Miruka, Development Consultant & Writer, Kenya

Why have a masculinities perspective on violent extremism?: Opportunities and challenges
Dr. David Duriesmith, Lecturer in Gender and Politics, The University of Sheffield 

Gender, Youth and Violent Extremism
Dr. Marc Sommers, International Consultant

Queering Terrorism
Dr. Emeka T. Njoku,  Newton International Fellow, University of Birmingham

Masculinities and Violent Extremism – insights from the Somali context

Judith Gardner, Independent Researcher and Fellow, Rift Valley Institute (RVI)

Kindly RSVP here to attend panel 2

Roundtable on Race Politics, Power and Ethics in Researching Violent Extremism, 15:00-16:45 (UK time)

Below are the speakers for this session:

Dr. Fatuma Ahmed Ali, Associate Professor of International Relations at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of the United States International University (Kenya)

Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism; Regents Professor, Robina Chair in Law, Public Policy, and Society, University of Minnesota and Professor of Law, The Queens University, Belfast

Professor Nicola Pratt, Professor of the International Politics of the Middle East, University of Warwick
Kindly RSVP here to attend the roundtable


November 24, 2021
9:00 am - 4:45 pm